NIH grant aids Kennesaw State researcher to expand work on school-based dental health programs

Nov 28, 2022

Kennesaw Point out University researcher Christina Scherrer’s scientific studies on college-based mostly dental wellbeing applications have proven how successful they can be in reducing tooth decay in elementary-aged youngsters. Now, by means of a grant from the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH), Scherrer is increasing her investigation to see if similar plans can also support kids in middle school.

Christina Scherrer
Christina Scherrer

“Dental problems are a sizeable contributor to small children being out of college for agony and distress,” claimed Scherrer, professor and division chair of industrial and programs engineering in the Southern Polytechnic Faculty of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SPCEET). “Data also demonstrates that young children who do not get good oral healthcare can have diminished health later on in everyday living.”

In accordance to Scherrer, who is functioning with Shillpa Naavaal, affiliate professor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Dentistry, university-centered dental programs are significant, in particular in reduced-income areas wherever mothers and fathers might not have the suggests to just take their little ones to a dentist. The scientists will use the additional than $400,000 NIH grant to study university sealant method administrators and state oral wellness administrators all around the United States to figure out how they are working with university-based mostly sealant packages and then dive into data on children’s tooth.

“We know sealants get the job done, and we know that college-dependent sealant plans do the job,” Scherrer mentioned. “However, most of these programs are in elementary educational facilities and what we really do not know is how it seems different in a center college. Our hypothesis is that potentially children’s first molars are in improved form since they’re extra very likely to get sealed in these school-centered packages and the second molars, all those that normally appear in concerning the ages of 11 and 13, are not.”

Scherrer and Naavaal will use information from the Centers for Sickness Regulate and Avoidance (CDC), which aspects children’s tooth which include those people that have sealants, have decay, and that are lacking, in addition to demographic details. The moment the investigate staff has analyzed the CDC knowledge and survey final results, they will establish a simulation product to see what the probable advantage would be of rising college-primarily based sealant programs for center schoolers.  

The moment the simulation product is crafted, the team will be capable to estimate the impact of increasing the selection of middle-college-based sealant applications on children’s tooth. If their outcomes support the perception that far more university-dependent sealant systems will enhance children’s oral wellness in a cost-effective way, the purpose is to use for funding to help implement much more systems.

“Dr. Scherrer continues to impress us with her neighborhood-centered and impactful investigate,” said SPCEET Dean Ian Ferguson. “It is an outstanding honor to obtain three NIH grants inside the past yr. It is crystal clear that she and her investigation groups are generating a variation in children’s lives. We look forward to continuing to follow her tasks above the subsequent various yrs.”

Before this yr, Scherrer started off get the job done on her to start with NIH grant for a challenge aimed at assessing and minimizing limitations associated with primary care doctors implementing fluoride varnish on children’s teeth. She has been researching children’s oral overall health for additional than a decade.

– Abbey O’Brien Barrows


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